LDRD Seminar Series: ‘Gas-Filled Microchannel Plates for X-ray Polarimetry Imaging and Beyond’
Electrical Engineer Shaolin Allen Liao (NE) will discuss his Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) sponsored work at the LDRD Seminar Series presentation Tuesday, April 10, 2018. “Gas-Filled Microchannel Plates for X-ray Polarimetry Imaging and Beyond” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Building 203 Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
Gas-filled microchannel plates (GF-MCPs) effectively integrate both the gas ionization detection and amplification mechanisms within a single device, greatly enhancing the efficiency of polarized X-ray, THz wave and even neutron detection and imaging.
X-ray polarization is important in both synchrotron X-ray source such as Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) and X-ray astronomy. We are studying a novel GF-MCP X‑ray polarimetry imager for measuring horizontal/vertical polarization of X-ray photons. The GF-MCP polarimeter can be used for polarized X-ray spectroscopy, (e.g., at the APS) and for X-ray polarimetry astrophysics. The polarimeter can also be modified for detection and tracking of other types of particles such as a fast neutron. The development of GF‑MCP X-ray polarimeter is a unique extension of the conventional vacuum-type MCP technology which can enhance the R&D of the High Energy Physics (HEP) Division’s large-area picoseconds photodetector (LAPPD) program. This LDRD project is a four-division collaboration that includes the Nuclear Engineering, HEP, Energy Systems and X-ray Science Divisions. The working principle of the GF-MCP X-ray polarimeter is to use MCP to detect electron-gas avalanche trajectory (from 100s µm to a few mm long) initiated along its polarization direction by an energetic polarized X-ray photon. The R&D can effectively make use of Argonne HEP’s LAPPD program and APS X-ray facility. The GF-MCP polarimeter has impact on two R&D areas: 1) for the polarized X-ray spectroscopy, the GF-MCP polarimeter is expected to dramatically increase the detection efficiency; and 2) for the X-ray polarimetry astrophysics, the GF-MCP array can form large-area (m2) panel-type polarimeter.
The R&D of the GF-MCP X-ray polarimetry imager will extend the applications of the LAPPD to polarized X-ray science such as magnetic structure polarized X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray polarimetry astrophysics and potential fast neutron detection. Beneficiaries/customers include APS X-ray polarized beamlines such as 4-ID and 29-ID, astrophysicists (polarized X-ray astrophysics), and government agencies (neutron detection) such as National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security and Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
For more than 15 years, Shaolin Allen Liao has been working in the broader area of electromagnetics techniques and its applications, which has led to more than 50 papers in reputed journals and conference proceedings, including IEEE, SPIE and Springer. Liao’s research interests span the low-end to the high-end of the EM spectrum: from radio frequency (RF: MHz), microwave (GHz), THz, through fiber optics laser photonics (515 nm to 1550 nm) and up to X-ray photonics (10s of keV). Such broad EM spectrum range has many potential applications such as novel sensing, imaging and spectroscopy areas.
At the same time, Liao also performs simulation, modeling and algorithm mainly in computational electromagnetics and in statistics and privacy for big data mining in computer science.
Liao is an electrical engineer in the Nuclear Engineering Division, and an adjunct faculty and instructor at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Before joining Argonne, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Physics of the City University of New York (CUNY, 2008-2010). Liao received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 2008 and his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 2000. He is a senior member of IEEE. Liao has three patents with Argonne.